The St. Charles Massacre Memorial
This week the Pocahontas Rotary Club pledged a 50% funding match, up to $5,000, toward construction of a Civil War monument and memorial on the Pocahontas town square. Pocahontas suffered in many ways during the Civil War. In fact, we suspect that suffering is one reason local people put it all behind them after the war, and we’ve never had any significant markers here regarding the only war to ever directly touch our town (downtown Pocahontas was burned by the Union army in 1863).
The proposed marker will cost about $10,000, so Five Rivers Historic Preservation will be working to raise funds from local people to match the generous Rotary Club contribution. The granite monument will be an exact copy of a marker in Cowen Cemetery, about 90 minutes north of Pocahontas in southern Missouri. That’s the burial place of the seven confederate soldiers reported to have been executed by Union troops on the Pocahontas town square in 1865, right at the end of the Civil War.
The Cowen Cemetery monument is marble, but we decided we couldn’t afford that, and granite will still look quite nice, while being more durable than marble. The Cowen Cemetery monument, erected in 1870, no doubt by the families of the dead soldiers, bears this inscription:
IN MEMORY OF
MURDERED MAY 28,1865
TIED, BLINDFOLDED & SHOT
BY U.S. TROOPS
After they had surrendered.
The St. Charles Hotel once occupied most of the east side of the Pocahontas town square and in 1865 it was still serving as Union army headquarters for northeast Arkansas when the execution of the seven young soldiers took place there. To read the complete story of what’s now known as The St. Charles Massacre, read the PDF file here.
2 Replies to “The St. Charles Massacre Memorial”
Very interesting story!
Yes, we excelled at suffering. Once the Confederate Government in Richmond moved all the troops here east of the Mississippi in 1862, the defense of Ranolph County was left to women, children, and old men. They suffered mightily at the hands of raiders from Missouri. Quantrill, the James brothers and others conducted raids here in the later years of the Civil War. Some bands contained over 350 raiders. Hence the old saying–‘Poor little Arkansas. So far from God and so close to Missouri.’
Federal troops finally occupied the county and restored order in 1865. Eleven actions, including seven major actions were fought here against large bands of raiders.